When one decides to have surgical hair restoration they immediately have a vision of what they would like to achieve. We all have our ideal cosmetic image and logically one expects this to be the final outcome. The first challenge experienced by patients is that their ideal image is not a realistic image for their particular case. This is usually because of the law of supply and demand. If the patient’s donor zone does not have enough hair to meet the demand of their expectations then they will be disappointed with any attempts to meet this expectation. This is typically the issue with patients with aggressive levels of hair loss but it can also be the case if a patient currently has minor levels of hair loss but is expected to have aggressive hair loss in the future. This is addressed with proper donor management in addition to setting safe patient expectations.
Unrealistic expectations are also seen on patients that wish for a result that is not considered to be natural by the doctor. Patients that have an unrealistic body image commonly find their way to hair restoration doctors wishing to have hairlines lowered to an unnatural degree or to increase density in areas where hair loss has not occurred. In some cases this can be classified as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) which is an entirely different discussion altogether but bears mentioning due to the logical correlation to the subject at hand. Regardless, in many cases, such disorders are not present and with proper discussion the patient can realize that their needs are not only unrealistic but unsafe and surgery will provide no relief for their issue.
When researching surgical options there are an almost endless list of questions one should ask themselves, of which only a few can be addressed here. The very first question that a potential hair transplant candidate should ask themselves is whether or not they have to have surgery in the first place. Too many people today turn to surgical therapy to attain some sort of cosmetic improvement. This can be due to many reasons but too many patients do not stop to think about what they are getting themselves into. Having hair loss does not make one unique in this world as billions of men and women worldwide are losing or have lost their hair. It is a normal occurrence but unfortunately, due to social pressures of perfection, millions of people worldwide have cosmetic surgeries including surgical hair restoration. Unfortunately few people ask themselves what they will do if the procedure they undergo does not have the desired effect, or worse, winds up having complications that causes a negative cosmetic impact rather than a cosmetic improvement. With regards to surgical hair restoration, the best outcome one can hope for after a failed surgery is little to no growth with minimal scarring as this will have the highest chance of not drawing visual attention. The majority of cases where the procedure was classified as a failure cause much more damage including unacceptable levels of donor and recipient site scarring, healthy growth but with unnatural angles and direction and/or a pluggy appearance, permanent donor and/or recipient shock loss, visibly thinned donor zones due to poorly planned extraction zones and even persistent infection and inflammation.